There was once a land in a distant country. Adventurers called it Paradise because that was the only word that can describe it. Children played with the stars at night while the adult held their hands, sharing jokes and memories under the benevolent gaze of Mother Nature.

And in this beautiful paradise, there lived a boy whose name was Joy. The gods named him Joy and his life was full of joy. 

He expresses joy in everything. He creates with joy, and invent with joy. He even smiles with joy. What a sight he is to behold.

One day his father called out to him, Joy. “I need you to run across to the next village and deliver these tubers of yam to our family friend.” Joy was sixteen now, a slender boy with all the charms that will make a girl swoon and walk off the road path.

Joy packed the tubers of yam in a sack and slung it over his shoulder. Any onlooker watching Joy at that moment will fear and think Joy would collapse under the weight, but the opposite happened. He walked under the strength of his two feet and head to the bridge that separated the two villages.  

Joy walked quickly, not wanting to delay and spend more time than necessary in the second village, but his prayer was not quickly answered this time, for the family friend was not around. His house was silent like a graveyard that has been long abandoned.

And it was for this same reason that Joy preferred not to come to their neighbouring village. The village was the opposite of paradise. Dark clouds hung over the village, crumbling every light in its path. The faces of the villagers are always gloomy and no sound could be heard. And when a sound is heard, the sound makes the heart cringe because it is either a sound of mourning or wailing.

Joy smiled at the shadows in the sky from where he sat on the floor, wondering when his father’s friend will be back. Suddenly, he heard a soft sob. His heart was pricked, so he stood up, leaving the tubers of yam by the porch where he had sat not quite long. He followed the sound of the cry to the back of the house where he found a girl about his age, dishevelled and crying, curled upon herself on the floor.

He asked her what was wrong, but she didn’t answer. He waved his hand in front of her face, but she kept staring at empty space, crying and not showing a bit of response to his questions. To Joy, she seemed overwhelmed by her problems. So, Joy remembered what he had read in the only book they had in their village which was believed to be the difference between their village and other villages.

He remembered and laid his hands on her shoulder, freely giving her his joy. Her expression changed instantly. She looked at him and smiled. She jumped and started twirling in the afternoon sun, sweet sound bursting from her throat. 

Joy smiled, joyful tears leaking from the corner of his eyes. He had been afraid that giving his joy will strip him of the joy he had. But after giving her his joy, he realised he had more joy to give. You can only give what you have. Giving it will not strip you of it but replenish you the more.

And with this revelation, he went out into the village and started giving out joy to people freely and where there was once a sombre village, sounds of joy and light are now loudly heard.

In God’s Love,

Peace Okunola.